Sir Albert Bore
Departing Birmingham City Council leader Sir Albert Bore said he was stepping down to offer stability amid mounting pressure on his position.
The Ladywood councillor announced he would leave the role after 16 years on Tuesday after a week that saw two of his Labour cabinet step down and more councillors threaten to jump ship.
It came after the cabinet met three times in 24 hours to discuss the growing crisis surrounding the leadership of the city.
His tenure has seen great strides in terms of city centre regeneration but long-standing issues like children’s services have continued to linger.
A critical report from civil servant Sir Bob Kerslake last year labelled the authority disconnected and dysfunctional and earlier this year Sir Albert’s handling of its recommendations came in for criticism.
However, within minutes of an announcement that he would step down by December – prompting a battle for leadership of the city – tributes started to pour in.
Sir Albert said: “The people of Birmingham have always come first. I’ve had a vision for Birmingham and I want to ensure someone else is in place to see through the work that I’ve started.
“What we also need at the moment is some stability rather than the distraction within the council and the media of how long I might remain as Leader. This is drawing attention away from the work that the city council needs to drive forward.”
Sir Albert said it was a vital time for the economic security of the city with an improvement panel, put in place in the wake of the Kerslake report, as well as talks over a region-wide combined authority taking place.
He added: “A new voice will see Birmingham through the next period in its history. So it is right for me to step back and take on a different role.”
The process of electing a new leader will begin imminently.
His resignation follows news that the city’s leadership woes were brought to the attention of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.
It is understood that the council leadership issue was high on the agenda of a national Shadow Cabinet meeting of senior Labour MPs.
Sir Albert had found himself under increasing pressure to go following the shock resignations of two senior colleagues.
And criticism of the leadership is expected in the forthcoming Government backed-review of the council amid fears that David Cameron could send in commissioners to run the city.
Councillor Ian Ward, deputy leader of the city council and one of the favourites to succeed him, said: “Sir Albert Bore has made a huge contribution to Birmingham. His drive, enthusiasm and commitment have changed the shape of the city to the benefit of Birmingham citizens. He has been an inspirational leader.
“I have worked closely with him for over 15 years and have learnt a great deal from his selfless dedication to public service. I owe him a great debt of gratitude.
“He has always put Birmingham and its people first and whilst I personally am sad that he will be stepping down as Leader of the Council, it is typical of Albert that he has reached this decision by placing the interests of the city ahead of himself.”